Justice Scalia on the Constitution, privacy, and criminality

By Kristopher A. Nelson
in April 2016

200 words / 1 min.
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Justice Scalia once noted that “the Constitution sometimes insulates the criminality of a few in order to protect the privacy of us all.”

Note: this post is from 2016. Evaluate with care and in light of later events.

A nice little “inkling” from the Indigo Book, a public-domain implementation of U.S. legal citation standards (of note: the Indigo Book emerged despite threats from the Harvard Law Review, publishers of that other standard work on the topic):

Justice Scalia once noted that “the Constitution sometimes
insulates the criminality of a few in order to protect the privacy of us all,” Arizona v. Hicks, 480 U.S. 321, 329 (1987); see also Maryland v. King, 133 S. Ct. 1958, 1989 (2013) (Scalia, J., dissenting) (“Solving unsolved crimes is a noble objective, but it occupies a lower place in the American pantheon of noble objectives than the protection of our people from suspicionless law-enforcement searches.”), and later applied that principle to limit police use of thermal imaging technology, see Kyllo v. United States, 389 U.S. 27 (2001); cf. United States v. Jones, 132 S. Ct. 945 (2012) (invalidating use of a GPS tracking device for long-term surveillance).1

I enjoy finding little gems like this in potentially dry reference works, and congratulate the team behind the Indigo Book.


  1. Sprigman et al., The Indigo Book: A Manual of Legal Citation, Public Resource (2016). 

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